When I was in my late 20’s and 30’s I would look at 40 something year old men and wonder what happened. I would hear all kinds of what I considered to be excuses about getting old or feeling old or life getting in the way and I would think to myself. “That’s never going to happen to me. I won’t let it.” Fast forward 15 years and here I am 42 years old and over the last two years there has been a gradual realization that as much as I try to control my mindset, my body has other intentions. The problem isn’t my mindset, as I’m sure it wasn’t for those I was being so judgmental about 15 years ago. In my mind I still want to lift the weight I used to, I still want to run as fast as I used to and recover as quickly as I used to. My body on the other hand is making it more difficult.
Fitness and overall health are just as important to me now and over the course of the past several months, I have found ways to deal with age and start feeling better overall.
Here are 5 easy steps to starting at ANY age.
1. Just start. That’s the first tip. Don’t say you’ll start on this day or after that holiday or on the red blood harvest moon vernal equinox. Start right now. Start with what you can do right this second to put your mind where it needs to be.
2. Visualize. Visualize the reasons why you want this. For me personally the biggest reason is longevity. I want to live a functional and healthy life for as long as I can. I want to be active into my 90’s. I want more productive and enjoyable years. Not just for myself but for my family. I also want to look in the mirror and know that I am setting an example that my children should follow.
3. Plan. Once you’ve got your reasons and you’ve visualized what success looks like, plan. Plan what it will take to get there. You don’t have to plan out the next 30 years, but plan your first workout. You don’t even have to go to the gym to do that. There is this thing called the internet and google and they are great ways to find routines and strategies for fitness at any level. Don’t overthink it. Find one quickly and just start there.
4. Don’t overtrain. You hear it all the time, “There is no such thing as overtraining.” “Train insane or remain the same.” “Rest is for the weak.” “Everyday is arm day.”…. well yeah that last one is true. But all the other ones…. Great in your 20’s and 30’s but once you hit 40 overtraining is much easier to do. Especially for those who haven’t hit the gym in awhile. I would argue that overtraining is a huge reason people fall off their fitness goals. You end up so sore that you take a few days off to recover and that turns into weeks, months or years. Once you hit 40 recovery takes longer and injuries occur more frequently. Also if you’ve been one of those guys who has overtrained for years, the little nicks and dings start to catch up to you. Those turn into injuries that keep you out of the gym. Instead of overtraining, focus on just training. Focus on form, contraction, function and stretching. Don’t take every set til failure. Don’t try and max out every week to break PR’s. Focus on feeling the contraction of the muscle you are working. Shorten rest times in between sets and lower the weight. This will sound counterintuitive, but try and limit the amount of soreness you feel after a workout. You can recover more quickly and work the muscle more frequently while minimizing risk of injury.
5. Clean up your diet. I’m not saying chicken, broccoli and brown rice for the rest of your life. I am also definitely not advocating removing carbs from your diet either. There is so much out there Keto this, Paleo that, insert whatever fad diet you want. There are so many that people are confused. I don’t know how often I hear “I want to start a diet, but I have no idea how or where to start.” That is just crazy to me that people feel they need a PHD or follow the advice of someone with a PHD to diet. The number one factor in any diet is calories in vs calories out. It’s simple. That’s where you start. Of course those diets work, but they are not and should not be sustained for long periods of time. Flexible dieting is where everyone should start. Watch your portions and you can have anything you want. I’ve been there before on those diets that make you feel like a failure because you had ice cream or even a freaking slice of bread. The negative feelings that acting on a craving brings is so counterproductive. Sales pitch aside, give 95 Nutrition a try. It truly makes things easier. Our company was founded from being asked what we ate to be in the shape we were in. To us it was an eye opener to what was happening in the industry, people were being confused by all of the information out there. You want to improve your diet?
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